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Monday, August 3, 2015

Special, Even in the Special Needs Community (part 2)

Trying to figure out how to do that, I suddenly knew I was in deep. I grabbed her arm into a twist behind her back to lead her to the couch. I knew Gwenn was in danger if I didn't act quickly. I was picturing cookies flying, Gwenn and her friend attacked, maybe a counter 'being cleared,"my strength grows in such a moment. Protecting others has always been Mark and my main goal. He and I can take the physical and mental abuse, but we never want her to "get others." It may be because we know her attacks will pass and in the end, he and I still love her just as deeply as before the rages. The thing is, we just don't know if others are capable of that kind of forgiveness? I'm sorry to sound like a martyr, that is not what I mean, it's just that Teale is ours and we get the pain she lives. Often in those horrific rages, my mind goes to picturing her brain scans, they are severe and picturing the compromised brain helps me to remember compassion and love and most of all, forgiveness. This is not her fault, she didn't choose this life and neither did we. Doctors's errors caused her brain damage and those doctors, well, they have no connection to the pain we live because of incompetence. I grabbed her arm to lead her, but she whipped around and tried to bite me, so I had to grab the back of her head, her long thick hair in a fistful. That way her face stayed forward and I could lead her out of the kitchen, past potential hazards and to her safe place, the couch. It's an awful way to treat a human being, but we could get severely hurt if I am not strong and firm while getting her safe. In those moments, I have no choice, I must use all I have to keep us all safe. Sometimes Child Protective Services goes through my head, Mark and I have been in situations where our care has been questioned. Our doctors would and have backed us, but still, it feels wrong to have to grab my 16 year old daughter like that. After all I'm an ex daycare provider/nanny and one on one special education aid. I've been trained to always keep an eye out for signs of abuse in children and I've been a mandated reporter. The difference with my situation is that there is NO FILTER for Teale, once her rages kick in, getting her to safety, even if it is forcefully, is the most compassionate way to help her. So, that day, I got her to the couch, strangely, once there, she goes after me, much less. She will bite herself, scream and rock back and forth on the couch, but generally, she will stay there. She will try to grab whatever she can to throw at me, so we try to always keep the area sparse. That day she went for a photo book, I was picturing it flying at my face or her tearing the pages, so I went in to get it away from her. As soon as I did, I was the target, my face was gouged, almost getting my eye and I narrowly avoided a bite into my arm. After pushing her face away and getting out of her grasp, (which left all five finger print bruises on my arm) she managed one last good slap on my chest area, her whole hand print showing immediately. The next week I would be getting a mammogram and I knew the bruises and gauge on my face would raise a red flag. I've had the questions before, "Are you safe at home? Do you need help?" Awkward, to say the least, I've wanted to answer with a "No, I'm not safe!" because the truth is, I am not always safe, but they mean my sweet husband, so I explain Teale. Anyway, all of this goes through my head as I pull away and listen to her screaming. "Stop looking at me!" She screams repetitive phrases over and over. "I want my iPad back!" "You hurt me!" Many phrases are tried and true, she repeats the same ones in rages. Her arm is bloody and raw from her biting it badly. She starts another diversional tactic/phrase, "I need ice!" I answer with "Yes, after you are calm." I can't leave the area, she will destroy if I do. Teale has broken many things over the years, much I truly care about is tucked away, someplace safe. Then the "I'm DONE!" usually starts... My heart rate feels like it is increasing just writing this, PTSD from way too many rages. Fear kicks in, but I'm strong and I've done this many times, so I stay alert and near her, trying not to engage with her until the calm sets back in. Often, I just pray, because "if God leads you to it, He'll lead you through it," but sometimes I hate God for what Teale lives. I waffle though, there are other times I believe everything has a reason and I can see the good Teale has brought me. As I stood there waiting for her to calm, I could feel the sting of the gauge on my face, it was n a tender area, right under my eye, the warmth of blood dripping and seeing the look on Teale's face, the realization she had hurt me was in her eyes. She knows it's wrong, to some extent, but in those fight or flight moments, she has no control over herself. That may be the biggest statement I say to myself, as I watch her suffering, it's not her, it's not her fault. I'm pretty darn calm, most of the time, I've snapped, but the few times I've reacted, ie,  to being bit & slapped her to release me and/or out of the shock of the pain, I have felt like I was two inches tall. She's brain damaged, I'm not and should be able to keep my decency. So, I mostly I rely heavily on God. I'll also text Mark or a friend for strength and sometimes I'll post on FB, hoping prayers will lift her & me through the crisis. At some point in the middle of this rage, Mark finally heard the screaming and came to check on me. Beau had heard Teale through the open windows above the noise of the mower and the weed whacker. It always sounds like we are killing Teale, even if we are not laying a finger on her, to say she has a loud voice is an extreme understatement. The windows being open is often a huge embarrassment, you wonder who hears her screaming, you wonder if the cops will show up? So as Mark stepped in, covered in grass, sweat and dirt. I looked at him and he saw the blood under my eye and the bruises starting to show. I told him to just go back to finishing what he wanted too, because at that point, she was calm enough. Also, I try to maintain strength in front of Teale, I can't have her thinking that I can't handle this without Mark. I need her to know I will see her through these battles and I will love her still... So the calm finally set in, there is a change in demeanor that tells me we are safe again. We then pick up the pieces and move on. This is life with Teale. 

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